Then all the parents were asked how strongly they agreed with statements such as, "I hope my child will reach goals that I wasn't able to reach." Those who viewed their children as most closely linked to themselves were more likely to hope that their children fulfilled their own dreams.
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"Several psychologists believe that, in very extreme cases, this desire could be harmful," the study's lead author, Eddie Brummelman, a PhD student at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, told Time. "For example, it may undermine children's autonomy or put pressure on them to excel. But these ideas have never been tested in research studies."
On the other hand, it may have positive benefits for the parents:
"Parents generally experience more meaning in life than non-parents do, but little is known about how parents derive meaning from parenthood," the authors write. "Parents may derive meaning from parenthood by vicariously resolving their unfulfilled ambitions through their children. Basking in children's reflected glory, parents' feelings of regret and disappointment about their own lost opportunities may gradually resolve, and make way for pride and fulfillment."